Situational awareness – May 29, 2018

Good Tuesday morning from Salt Lake City. The 2018 Utah primary elections are exactly four weeks from today.

It’s debate day in Utah! Romney has a massive lead over Kennedy. Utahns really like Count My Vote. Officials are scrambling to save the summit meeting between the U.S. and North Korea.


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  • Today the last day to register to vote by mail for the 2018 primary election (5/29/2018)
  • Tomorrow is the last day to change your party affiliation before the primary election (5/30/2018)
  • 7 days until primary election mail-in ballots are sent to voters (6/5/2018)
  • 14 days until in-person early primary voting begins (6/12/2018)
  • 21 days until the final day to register to vote online or in person before the primary election (6/19/2018)
  • 24 days until in-person early primary voting ends (6/22/2018)
  • 28 days until the 2018 Primary Election (6/26/2018)
  • 161 days until the 2018 midterm elections (11/6/2018)
  • 244 days until the first day of the 2019 Utah Legislature (1/28/2019)
  • 889 days until the 2020 presidential election (11/3/2020)


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Romney leads Kennedy by a huge margin

Our exclusive poll shows Mitt Romney has a massive 43-point lead over his GOP primary challenger Mike Kennedy among likely GOP primary voters [Utah Policy].

Big support for Count My Vote

Our latest survey finds 2/3rds of Utahns would vote for the Count My Vote initiative if it makes the November ballot. That support includes 53% support from Republican voters [Utah Policy].

Tepid debates

Here’s why you shouldn’t expect fireworks from today’s GOP primary debates [Utah Policy].

Rookie mistake

Our “Political Insiders” say Mike Kennedy’s decision to apologize to a Baptist minister who Mitt Romney called a “religious bigot” was an unforced political error [Utah Policy].


  • Josh Holt gets a heroes’ welcome after being released from a Venezuelan prison [Deseret News, Tribune, KUTV].
  • Utah will certify which ballot initiatives will make the November ballot this week, but the courts will likely have the last say [Deseret News].
  • The group opposed to the Count My Vote initiative filed a lawsuit to block the proposal from being placed on November’s ballot [Deseret News, Tribune].
  • Utah lawmakers are worried the proposed Medicaid expansion ballot initiative would lead to a larger cost for the state if approved by voters in November [Associated Press].
  • South Salt Lake officials say they expect to move forward on the stalled homeless shelter in that city [Deseret News]. 
  • Weber County is suing opioid manufacturers and distributors [Tribune].


  • State of the midterms. Democrats are still favored to take control of the House after November’s midterm elections, even though the idea of a “blue wave” is fading [National Journal].
    • Democrats still have a healthy lead in the generic Congressional ballot [FiveThirtyEight].
    • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thinks the U.S. Senate seat in Ohio currently held by Democrat Sherrod Brown may be in play [The Hill].
    • Republicans want to get President Trump on the campaign trail ahead of the 2018 midterms to give a boost to GOP candidates [NBC News].
  • How President Trump uses baseless conspiracy theories to erode trust in traditional institutions, including the media, to get a boost politically [New York Times].
  • On again, off again, on again. A top North Korean official is on his way to the U.S. to continue talks about reviving a summit between Kim Jong Un and President Trump [Washington Post]. 
  • Sen. Marco Rubio says North Korea “will not denuclearize” and calls that country’s current peaceful gestures “a show” [ABC News].
  • Democrats are stealing a page from the GOP playbook and blaming President Trump for skyrocketing gasoline prices [Politico].
  • U.S. officials lost track of nearly 1,500 immigrant children after they were placed in the homes of sponsors last year [CNN].
  • Former President George H.W. Bush has been hospitalized for low blood pressure and fatigue [ABC News].
  • Starbucks stores around the country will close for a few hours Tuesday afternoon so employees can take mandatory anti-bias training [CNN Money].


  • 1790 – Rhode Island becomes the last of the original U.S. colonies to ratify the Constitution and is admitted as the 13th state.
  • 1848 – Wisconsin is admitted as the 30th state.
  • 1886 – Pharmacist John Pemberton places his first advertisement for Coca-Cola, which appeared in the Atlanta Journal.
  • 1953 – Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay become the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
  • 1973 – Tom Bradley is elected the first black mayor of Los Angeles.
  • 1988 – President Ronald Reagan begins his first visit to the Soviet Union when he arrives in Moscow for a summit with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
  • 2004 – The National World War II memorial was dedicated on the National Mall in Washington.